By Blessing Bature-Akpakpan,
The Migration partnership between Nigeria and Switzerland is an ideal example of how bilateral relations can be used to address common challenges in a positive and dynamic way as the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has partnered the Switzerland to deepen the existing relationship between both countries.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said this during the 10th anniversary of the Nigeria-Switzerland cooperation, that Nigeria believes in strategic collaboration and partnership and has engaged and entered into bilateral and multilateral partnership both intra and intercontinental.
Farouq said, “All this, the Nigeria/Switzerland bilateral partnership is outstanding and enjoys a unique kind of strategic relationship based on mutual trust and respect for each other. Permit me to state that our partnership with the Swiss in all its ramifications is often used as a reference point in our diplomatic engagements with other nations.
“The Nigeria-Swiss Bilateral Partnership on Migration conducted under the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) for instance has proven to be a model of diplomatic pragmatism on issues of common interest specifically relating to migration. This strong Migration Partnership between Nigeria and Switzerland was signed in 2011. It aimed at intensifying the cooperation between the two countries in the field of migration especially in ensuring humane and dignified return of irregular migrants from Switzerland to Nigeria with benefits attached to facilitate their reintegration into the society.
“For Nigeria, beyond the focus on international migration, our priority is also to address the situation of internal displacement being experienced in some parts of the Country. People do not get displaced by choice; rather they are forced to leave their habitual place of residence as a result of complex humanitarian conditions.
“Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the relevant Agencies under its supervision, is evolving radical and creative approach to shift from a relief dependent measures to a more concrete and protection oriented strategies and durable solution options in response to the huge displacement profiles in Nigeria. This is inspired by the need to shift from the application of ad-hoc strategies to developing and institutionalize a more sustainable and coordinated process that derives from the principle of the Kampala Convention in addressing future displacement challenges in Nigeria.”
Also, Federal Councilor, Head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, Switzerland, Karin Keller-Sutter, said “for the past ten years, we have strengthened our cooperation by the sharing expertise and best practices in implementing migration management mechanism, fighting human trafficking, preventing irregular migration, facilitating return and reintegration, and enabling sustainable labour migration. These exchanges have also allowed both our countries to appreciate the opportunities migration can present and have helped Sync us to better understand its challenges.”
Keller-Sutter added, “that over the past decade, we have consistently developed our Migration Partnership into concrete action and projects. We have held many fruitful meetings and conducted numerous valuable projects; it is in our interest to build on these achievements when shaping our future cooperation. Switzerland is determined to continuously foster the dialogue within the framework of the Migration Partnership and remains a close partner to Nigeria and the Nigerian people.”
In his remarks, Senator Basheer Garba Mohammed, federal commissioner, national commission for refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons (NCFRMI) requested for assistance towards deepening the operationalization and sensitization of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on Return, Readmission and Reintegration (RRR) in Nigeria.
He said, “We intend to cascade the SOP on RRR to all the States of the Federation and Local Government Areas in the country and this will involve advocacy and use of the media for outreach and sensitization.”